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Case Study: The Joiner

It is 7 am when Peter parks his Pickup in front of his uncle’s joinery. As every morning in the last 2 years, Peter parks his car next to the workshop – often also on Saturdays and sometimes even on Sundays.

Peter is a trained joiner, as was his grandfather. With him, Peter spent a lot of time in his childhood. Everything he knows about wood and nature, Peter had learned from his grandfather.

After he finished his apprenticeship, Peter started to work for a carpentry company. Peter wanted to see as much of the world as possible . He was in almost every European capital and installed hotel rooms in large hotel chains there. Many names of the businesses that were printed on the crates he knew from his uncle.

His uncle had taken over the joinery from Peter’s grandfather – Peter’s father decided to be a baker instead – and it was his big goal to become renowned for hotel fitouts as well. But somehow, this was never achieved.

It is raining heavily while the cars of the 20 employees one by one roll into the car park. Peter still sits in his Pickup and watches the men entering the workshop.

He had to cope with a lot of things in the last 2 years. His uncle suddenly became ill and Peter had the chance to take over the joinery. The first year was really exhausting. Back then, Peter also went to Master School and successfully graduated as a Master Joiner – he had always had big dreams. Peter also handled necessary investments in the joinery. A colleague from Master School helped him to go for the right machinery – a true joinery pro.

The only thing Peter struggles with are the employees. The old ones still wait for the uncle to come back, and the young ones don’t stay in the company. They say, it is too boring to work for Peter. They rather switch to a large industrial plant two villages over. “You earn more there, and also, they do more for their employees”, you hear people say. But Peter even has a quote for a showroom in the city. This is Peter’s dream. A showroom in the city to show everyone how great his products are. If he just hadn’t these struggles with the employees.

When Peter gets out of the car, his uncle parks his car next to him. He came to talk to Peter. Peter explains his problem to him and seems to be a bit desperate. His uncle opens the latest Tischler Journal (a joinery-specific magazine) and puts it on Peter’s table. “Your problem is our project”, they read as a headline for a report about a young consultancy company that focusses on the joinery industry – they call themselves Project Business Partners. “…specialist for staff issues…”, the uncle reads aloud. Peter pulls himself together and opens the webpage. Somehow, he instantly likes the two faces that greet him. Even though both faces are projected on only one head – strange, yet somehow cool, Peter thinks.

Together, Peter and his uncle read about the history of b and mi and the successful projects they have already managed. Project – that’s something Peter likes. Because Peter doesn’t think much of consultants that only provide ever so clever advice – for this, he already has his uncle. Peter needs real results – and only projects can deliver these.

Peter is curious. He eagerly clicks on the large megaphone symbol. A skype connection pops up, and after a moment, the live image of a young woman appears who greets Peter with the words “Your problem is our project – how can I help you?”. Peter recognises her instantly. It was mi. Soon the two of them find out that they went to trade school in Pöchlarn together, and this finally breaks the ice. Peter tells mi about the issues with his employees.

The uncle instantly sees that he is no longer needed here and sneaks out of the door.

mi sketches up a small, but effective project plan on the screen. The targets are clear, and the timeline also seems legit to Peter. He wants to have a final look at the cost estimate alone. They arrange a follow-up meeting in Peter’s joinery next week. There the project contract will be signed.

Peter is looking forward to the meeting. Finally, something will change in his business – and he doesn’t need to fear his employees’ resistance as they work from joiner to joiner, which makes things a lot easier.

This is how a problem became a project.